In an all-out effort to retire multiple stakes winner Tortuga Strait after 61 starts and more than $830,000 in earnings, top owner Maggi Moss joined forces with two Thoroughbred advocates last month to claim and retire the war horse after his final race.
Following his first-place finish at Delta Downs Dec. 19, Moss claimed the 9-year-old after the animal appeared on a “watch list” monitored by Gail Hirt of Beyond the Roses Equine Rescue and Retirement and Donna Keen of Remember Me Rescue.
“There’s a group of women, including Gail of Beyond the Roses Rescue, and we’re constantly looking for these old war horses” who need to be retired, says Keen, who noted that she stepped up and volunteered to retire the horse to her rescue facility in Texas.
“I hauled him to my farm myself,” she adds. “He’s an awesome horse!”
Sire: Gold Tribute
Dam: Tortuga Band
Foal Date: April 18, 2004
Earnings: $831,573, 61 starts
The day after his last race, Keen drove out to meet him, and seeing that the dark bay needed to stretch his legs to alleviate soreness from the previous day’s workout, she tacked him up in a western saddle and hopped on.
“He rode around like an old pony horse,” she says. “We’re planning to let him down at our farm, train him, and put him on a list for possible adopters. But I’m not so sure. I might want to keep him for myself!”
Enjoyable to ride, he also has the type of personality that makes her laugh—for instance, he enjoys a good sandwich as much as Keen does, especially if it’s Keen’s lunch in the first place, and any other munchies that aren’t nailed down. “He’s a peppermint machine. And he loves carrots, apples, my sandwiches, anything you’re eating, he wants it.”
The dark bay, who has a smidge of white above his back, left foot, is so good-looking that Keen envisions him as a future show horse. She is planning to train him to go without a bridle, and school him in the basics in time for the Battle of the X’s Thoroughbred Show this March.
Helping a warrior go from the track to a good situation is a role Moss says she is happy to do. But she would be happier if assistance to war horses was built in to the sport of horse racing.
“I am always here to help with the warriors of racing,” she says, encouraging the racing industry, the Jockey Club, the HBPA, the owners and the breeders to join her in the effort. “I don’t mind putting up the money, and feel it’s what I want to do, but I wish there was more help” for war horses.
10 responses to “Maggi Moss claims Tortuga Straits, on to Texas”
Ms Moss: I know you once owned Mikes Thunder the gray gelding who ran in NY and FLA ..we tried claiming him from you but ultimately were out shook but finally claimed him at the end of his career (with Mike Miceli ex jock now trainer for 25 yrs) and he won his last three races with us (MARJAC PINO STABLE) he did breakdown but after my partner did not want to keep him my family and my trainer kept him and we nursed him back to care and then just kept him for 10 yrs on a farm in KY He passed away last week on the farm in KY where we kept him for 10 yrs after he stopped racing as it was the right thing to do…would love to email you and promote my trainer (small trainer in NY for 20 yrs)
Tortuga Straits will be part of the Remember Me Rescue national freeze branding project to help protect thoroughbred racehorses from slaughter. The freeze brand symbolizes that the horse has had a medication that is banned for life, (no withdraw time), for human consumption such as phenylbutazone. If you would like to know more about the program you can visit the Remember Me Rescue website. It is a small step in the right direction, but at least it is something since the politicians are helping. http://www.teamkeen.com/freezebrandingproject.html
**Since the politicians are NOT helping….
These horses are very lucky to have folks like Maggi Moss and her friends that work so hard to save these gallant horses but keep in mind that the US Senate are the politicians that will not pass the Safe Act S.541/H.R.1094. That would put a stop to horses like Tortuga Straits and many thousands of other US horses being sent to the bloody kill box. I will never stop preaching to everyone I can to call, call and call again your state senators at their DC offices, send emails and faxes. Because if the two bills die in committee like all of the other bills have done new bills will have to be introduced next year and the horses can’t wait till next year.
Maggie Moss is a “ballsy” woman. She says what she fells and does what she wants to do ! There should be more owners in the game like her. She should be the person who leads the TRA and be appointed to be Comissioner of Racing !
Mindy, I can’t tell you how much I love what you do thank you for all the positive feedback . We know about all the heartache but it’s great to know about those folks who go above and beyond . I will continue to donate to every good cause I can find.
He looks like a warhorse that I would love to have in my barn. With my most recent adoption and my pensioned warhorses I have no room. Maggie sets a standard that owners and trainers should follow.
just keep him Donna, you already fell in love, oh, and you rode him cold, so now you can go on long rides, good job
Dear Maggie, your assessment is right on!! Other than the politics of it, why can’t we work in every state to allocate money from the sources you mention ?? It is “horse welfare” to expect the public–the kind hearted people who rescue, to care for these horses for many years to come. It is time to claim (no pun intended) what is due to the horses, who win the purse money for everyone but themselves !!
If I could be any person in the world…it would be Maggi Moss…she’s my hero. She knows her “calling” and it seems that behind almost every one of these storiesy…she’s there! I also commend Ms. Hirt and Ms. Keen….thank you for what you do! The best of wishes to Tortuga Straits for a long, happy life!